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  • Thu, May 02, 2019 5:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    WEST ALLIS, Wis. – April 30, 2019 – Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO Kathleen O’Leary is excited to announce the promotion of several employees as part of a re-organization that creates more clearly defined divisions within the organization, each overseen by a Chief Officer. The divisions include Finance, Marketing, Operations, Police & Public Safety and State Fair Programming.

    “I am humbled by the incredible talent of the Wisconsin State Fair Park staff,” said Kathleen O’Leary, Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO. “When I became CEO, it was my vision to create a newly organized structure that streamlined management while offering advancement opportunities and empowerment to the entire staff.”

    Shari Black has been named Chief Programs Officer, overseeing the State Fair Programming Division. Black was hired at State Fair Park in 2016 as the Senior Director of Event Services, focusing on non-fair events as well as SpinCity, the State Fair’s Amusement Ride and Game area. In her new position she will serve a key role in the strategic planning and success of the annual Wisconsin State Fair, including management of Attractions & Rides, Agriculture, Competitive Exhibits, Entertainment, Guest Relations, and Vendor Services. Black served on the board of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs for six years, and as president in 2016. She currently serves on the International Association of Fairs (IAFE) Foundation Board of Trustees and the West Allis Business Improvement District Board. Prior to joining the team at State Fair Park, she was the director of the Waukesha County Fair for 15 years and has a degree in Communication and Business Administration from Carroll University.

    Chris Kowieski has been named Chief Operating Officer, overseeing the Operations Division. Kowieski joined the State Fair Park staff 24 years ago as a facilities laborer, working his way up to a Facilities Shift Supervisor before his career took a different path. He is proud to have worked for 10 years as a high school Social Studies teacher and served as a United States Army Reservist for eight years. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Five years ago, he returned to State Fair Park as the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, moving up to Director of Facility Services. In this new role Kowieski will oversee Facilities, Event Services, Transportation, Gates and Parking. He has a B.A. in Secondary Education from UW-Eau Claire and M.S. in Business Administration from UW-Milwaukee.

    Jen Puente has been named Chief Marketing Officer, overseeing the Marketing Division. Puente has worked at State Fair Park for nearly 15 years in various sponsorship and marketing roles, most recently serving as Director of Marketing & Partnerships since 2016. She has grown sponsorship revenues significantly year-over-year and has managed an impressive 85 percent sponsor retention rate average each year. She was instrumental in securing the fair’s first ever presenting sponsor, U.S. Cellular, in 2006. Puente is a former chair of the IAFE YPI (Young Peoples Initiative) committee, teaches sponsorship training courses for the IAFE and currently serves on the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In her new position, Puente will oversee Advertising, Sponsorship, Marketing Communications, Creative Services and Group Sales. She has a B.A. in Business Administration with a Marketing emphasis from UW-Eau Claire.

    Jaime Kwiatkowski has been named Director of Entertainment, Events & Guest Relations, serving within the State Fair Programming Division. She will book entertainment for the Main Stage presented by Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and several other stages and events during State Fair, as well as oversee the Guest Relations Department. Kwiatkowski first began working at State Fair Park in 1999 in the special events department and was promoted to Entertainment Director in 2002, a position she held through 2006. She returned to State Fair Park in 2012 to manage the newly created Group Sales Department and Guest Relations, increasing group ticket sales 170 percent since the first year of the program. Kwiatkowski has degrees in both Mass Communication and Communication from UW-Milwaukee.

    State Fair Park’s Finance Division will continue to be led by current Chief Financial Officer Timothy Miles. Miles has been with State Fair Park for two years. Prior to this position he worked in Public Accounting, auditing state and local governments, as well as non-profit organizations. He then worked in Higher Education before being hired as WSFP Controller and being promoted to CFO.

    The Police & Public Safety Division will continue to be led by Chief James Bruno. Bruno has served as the Chief of Police for State Fair Park since 2013. He has been a member of the State Fair Park Police Department for 18 years and formerly served in the City of Greenfield Police Department, beginning in 1979.

    Kathleen O’Leary and Steve Reinhardt will oversee all State Fair Park divisions. O’Leary has officially served as CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park since October 2016. She has worked for Wisconsin State Fair Park for 22 years in various positions, including Interim CEO, Chief Operations Officer and Director of Marketing, Communications, and Sponsorship.

    Steve Reinhardt will continue to serve as Deputy Executive Director, a role he has held for two years. Reinhardt has 18 years of experience at State Fair Park having formerly served as Chief Services Officer, as well as Director of Vendor Services.

    Wisconsin State Fair Park is a year-round entertainment venue hosting hundreds of events and meetings annually throughout the four seasons, including the annual Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular. It is home to the Exposition Center, Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center, Milwaukee Mile Speedway, Wisconsin Products Pavilion and many other facilities.

    Welcoming an average of one million guests each year, the Wisconsin State Fair offers a unique experience to all who attend. Featuring Wisconsin’s largest agriculture showcase, 30 FREE entertainment stages, exciting rides and games in SpinCity, countless family-friendly activities and food galore, the fair is a tradition that can’t be missed. The 2019 fair will take place Thursday, Aug. 1 – Sunday, Aug. 11, For the most up-to-date information, visit WiStateFair.com  or join the conversation on Facebook Twitter ,Instagram Pinterest YouTube  and Snapchat .

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  • Thu, May 02, 2019 5:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon)full history
              Change from
      04/15/19 04/22/19 04/29/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.118 3.147 3.169   values are up 0.022 values are up 0.012
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.153 3.174 3.194   values are up 0.020 values are up 0.032
    New England (PADD1A) 3.205 3.217 3.236   values are up 0.019 values are up 0.033
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.342 3.370 3.385   values are up 0.015 values are up 0.064
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 3.015 3.033 3.057   values are up 0.024 values are up 0.015
    Midwest (PADD2) 3.010 3.042 3.058   values are up 0.016 values are down -0.025
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.899 2.917 2.939   values are up 0.022 values are down -0.007
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.082 3.143 3.183   values are up 0.040 values are down -0.032
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.651 3.696 3.730   values are up 0.034 values are up 0.090
    West Coast less California 3.252 3.309 3.346   values are up 0.037 values are down -0.048
    California 3.967 4.003 4.035   values are up 0.032 values are up 0.201
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, April 25, 2019 11:54 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    I was hoping to reach Joey Fowler, who had two games in the top 10 at the March 14-April 7 Miami-Dade County Fair, but when Patty Dee, concession manager, gave me his phone number it made me wonder what he was doing in Philadelphia, since the first three digits were 215, which cover that area.
    After a no answer and generic voice mail, I decided to try my go to guy, David Starkey, of Arnold Amusements, who always seems to have an answer for everything. Starkey had to hang up his phone, search for the number, and call me back. It was the same one I already had, so I tried again.
    When Fowler answered this time, I wondered what he was doing in the land of one of my favorite baseball teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. His silent response was one of what are you talking about. He then said, “I'm in China.” China, what the hell are you doing there? I asked, and he said, “I came over with Abe Hammer of Best Toys, Brooklyn, New York, to pick up stock. We're buying containers of goods to bring back to the U. S. I've been over here four or five times before, but since I buy from Abe, I wanted to learn more about the process, and he's helping me with that. It's a different world.”
    Fowler's mom, Lavon, was once married to my wife, Christine's former brother-in-law, John McCarthy, who had Dar-Jon food concessions, and traveled with such carnivals as World of Mirth, Rod Link, Milt Kaufman's Gooding's Million Dollar Midways, the James H. Drew Exposition, and others.
    Fowler's late grandparents, Joe and Thelma Spalding, were highly respected concessionaires from Gantt, Alabama, which had a population of 222 in 2010.  Joey spent several seasons handling the merchandise on the Ozzy Osborne tours. “They don't have any of those daytime festivals anymore, so I haven't done that in a while,” he said, adding, “that was quite an experience, actually, a good one.”
    Fowler's balloon dart game was the fifth highest grosser at Miami-Dade, and his double decker vertical water game came in ninth place. Both were purchased from Denny's Electronics of Nokomis, Florida. Denny Bartosik won the OABA's Pioneer Award in 2017, and while I'm thinking about it, Marilyn Portemont of Johnny's United Shows, Andalusia, Alabama, which is 8.6 miles from Gantt, received a Distinguished Service Award. Marilyn's late husband, Johnny, was inducted into the OABA Hall of Fame in 2003, Andalusia's 2017 population was 8,787, and get this, Gantt's was 215, yes, that's correct. I know Gantt had several bars because every time Bill Lordy, Terry (The Viking) Erickson, and I called McCarthy, he was in one. Fowler, who grew up in Gantt, now resides in Venice, Florida.
    So far this season, Fowler has set up his games at the Florida Strawberry Festival, Plant City, Florida State Fair, Tampa, and Miami-Dade. His next spot will be the Empire State Fair at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N. Y., (Long Island), May 3-19. The fair is owned and operated by Al Dorso; Strates Shows has the midway. Fowler books independently, with North American Midway Entertainment, Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows, and Charles Panacek's Belle City Amusements. Among other highlights on his route are the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, and Wisconsin State Fair, West Allis.
    Realizing that the games business has undergone drastic changes in recent years, Fowler said, “You have to be able to adapt. Change is inevitable. You have to make sure you change with the times. Games, as you well know, have always been at the bottom of the food chain, but the economy is so good now that people have that extra money to spend after admission, food and rides. The season has been very good up to now, and I'm optimistic that it will continue. I think this is going to be a big year.”
    For Lou Pacifico and his wife, Vicki, who have been playing Miami-Dade since 1977, “this was our best ever, unbelievable,” according to Lou, who heads up the Meatball Factory. Their daughter, Nicole, and her husband, Ryan Collmer, had the No. 2 food stand with turkey legs, and were fourth, with barbecue. Pacifico was fifth, with corn dogs.
    “And if you eliminate the two beer vendors, we were eighth with Burger Bobs, run by my son-in-law, Robert Diaz, and his wife, Rose, and ninth, with a chicken stand run by our son, Aaron Pacifico, and his wife, Kristen. Fair officials said that counting the whole family, we grossed more than $1 million.”
    Asked what made the difference from previous years, Pacifico pondered and said, “First of all, the weather was very good. The new president and CEO, Eddie Cora, made sure there were plenty of promotions, including two $3 Wednesdays. The first was not so big, but the second was tremendous. Last year there was a $10 charge for parking, and they eliminated that, and they did away with the so-called Magic Money, which never worked at this fair. Plus, the carnival (North American Midway Entertainment, led by Tony Diaz) looked really good. When a fair will work with us, we will always produce. We opened our season at West Palm Beach (the Rick Vymlatil-managed South Florida Fair), and we were way up, despite rain and bad weather. We had six stands in there,” said Pacifico.
    Next was the Cheryl Flood-managed Florida State Fair, Tampa, where The Meatball Factory had two stands booked on the independent midway. “We were up there. It was okay.” Upcoming are the Howard County 4-H Fair, Greentown, Indiana, July 8-13; Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition, Goshen, Ind., July 19-27, and the Cynthia Hoye-managed Indiana State Fair, Indianapolis, Aug. 2-18.
    Something different is occurring this year in Elkhart, where fair President Joseph Culp has announced that opening day will include $5 First Friday specials. Examples of bargains include a $5 gate admission, a free ride on North American Midway Entertainment's Ferris Wheel from 5pm to 6pm, and food deals. Kevin McGrath's Best Around Concessions is offering a smorgasbord of tasty treats ranging from jumbo corn dogs to funnel cakes, fruit smoothies, and Saratoga chips. Pacifico, no doubt, will be part of the action, after loving the $3 deals at Miami-Dade.
    Pacifico said he used to book with Conklin Shows, but his route is now all independent except for one unit with NAME at The Big E (Eastern States Exposition), West Springfield, Massachusetts. One of his latest hot items is a dilly dilly corndog, which is basically a hot dog inside a dill pickle.”We introduced it at Goshen last year, sold it for $8, and the fair helped us to publicize it. We did the same at The Big E, and it was hard to keep up with the sales, unbelievable.”
    For supplies, Pacifico deals with Hopkins Food Services of Cairo, Ga. He is also part of Storm Services, along with Tommy Hopkins, Charley Cox, Dennis and Cheryl Reas of Carousel Foods, and others. “I have been doing business with them for 30 years and Tommy is a man of his word. If he tells you a price, that's exactly what it is. We hope to hold our prices the same this season, but with the rising costs of fuel, we may have to reconsider. We have to go up north, no way around that.”
    Pacifico sees many signs pointing to a very good season. “Last year was good. The economy is fantastic. People are spending and at Miami-Dade, I never saw so many $50 and $100 bills coming across the counter, so many of them. Credit cards account for about 18 per cent of our business.”

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 319-1258.

  • Tue, April 23, 2019 11:02 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*  
    (dollars per gallon)full history
              Change from
      04/08/19 04/15/19 04/22/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.093 3.118 3.147   values are up 0.029 values are up 0.014
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.137 3.153 3.174   values are up 0.021 values are up 0.032
    New England (PADD1A) 3.193 3.205 3.217   values are up 0.012 values are up 0.046
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.324 3.342 3.370   values are up 0.028 values are up 0.075
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.998 3.015 3.033   values are up 0.018 values are up 0.005
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.993 3.010 3.042   values are up 0.032 values are down -0.005
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.879 2.899 2.917   values are up 0.018 values are down -0.019
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 3.028 3.082 3.143   values are up 0.061 values are down -0.038
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.591 3.651 3.696   values are up 0.045 values are up 0.080
    West Coast less California 3.189 3.252 3.309   values are up 0.057 values are down -0.057
    California 3.910 3.967 4.003   values are up 0.036 values are up 0.188
    *prices include all taxes
  • Tue, April 23, 2019 11:42 AM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Second Largest Donation to Date

    Eastern States Exposition President and CEO, Eugene J. Cassidy made a donation of $236,423 to The Big E/West Springfield Trust Fund, the second largest gift in the fund’s history. The amount represents 1% of the Exposition’s gross revenues for 2018 and contributions to the Fund, including this year’s gift, now total $4,236,423. The check was presented in a special ceremony held at Town Hall April 23.

    “The support of youth, elderly and education in our hometown is of great importance and the Exposition is pleased to have continued the tradition of donating to this fund annually for the past 25 years. Every qualifying town organization or agency should consider applying for a grant to supplement its important projects,” Cassidy said.

    Fund trustees award a percentage of the donation to benefit education, youth and the elderly in West Springfield and leave the remainder to accrue. Trustees of the Fund are West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, Cassidy, and Attorney Mary Paier Powers.

    Read entire press release here >>>>

  • Thu, April 18, 2019 1:30 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    A record attendance of more than 130,000 was recorded for the 33rd annual Clay County Fair, Green Springs, Fla., held April 4-13, according to Jackie Collins, office assistant to GM Tasha Hyder.

    Dale Negus, concession manager for Deggeller Attractions, which has provided the carnival midway from the beginning of the event, said there was a little rain on the first Saturday, “but the last two days were very big.”

    Negus, who has been with the carnival since 1974, when he was 13, said Green Cove Springs put a big capper on three dates that were within 35 miles of each other. They were the Bradford County Fair, Starke, where Negus said it was cold, but the fair continues to grow, and the Putnam County Fair, East Palatka. “They had two weekends, and it went as well as it always does.”

    Negus, who played collegiate football at Georgia Tech, under Coach Bill Curry, said, “Green Cove Springs just keeps growing. It is an unbelievable community event. Everybody with the show, including Andy Deggeller, an OABA director, and his wife, Jamie, are in awe of what they do. They had some really big name acts, more than usual, and when they tore the stage down they sold out for a couple of tractor pulls.”

    Collins, who has worked at the fair for 10 years, said former manager, Pete Sutton, dropped by for the kickoff luncheon ceremonies, and opening day. She said the talent included Devon Dawson and Drake White, Marshall Tucker, Big Daddy Weave, Shenandoah, Joe Diffie, Big and Rich, Roots & Boots, featuring Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, and Collin Raye, Jordan Davis and Jimmy Allen, and Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers. Acts were booked through 4 Walls Entertainment, of Auburndale, FL.

    Other entertainment included The Barnyard Cackle Revue, Da Johnson Power Band, Rosaire's Royal Racers, Disc-Connected K9s World Famous Frisbee Dog, Dennis Lee Band, Team T&J, Sweeney Family Band, Xpogo Stunt Team, Mac Ganoe, Agri-Puppets, and Dan Dan the Farmer Man.

    Booking with Deggeller were Gloria and Bobby Myers with their New York New York Funhouse, and a truck kiddie ride, and Michael Lauther with an Orbiter, two Funhouses, Tilt, and Pizza Stand. Perry Ristick came in with five games. Regulars with the show are Rob Myers and Alieta Hopp, with games, a grab joint, and a Yo Yo, and Puppy Ride. Assisting Negus and his wife, Sharon, with their Fair Play Games was their son, Dale Jr., 24, who graduated from Methodist University in Fayetteville, N. C. He is accompanied by his fiancee, Zane Vissera. They plan to marry on Nov. 28, 2020. That's what he said.

    The show's Scott MacNeill, the son, not the father, had the show's new Pinfari Klondike Roller Coaster, a Looping Star RL 42 model, set up with Ray Cammack Shows at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. It's the only Looping Coaster in the U. S. MacNeill said it moves on six trucks, has two Gondolas that hold 12 passengers each, and it was purchased from a carnival in Ireland. Originally manufactured for an amusement park, it was refurbished by Deggeller, with new scenery added. This is Deggeller's fourth Coaster. The others are what MacNeill described as the L&T Wild Mouse, SDC Wildcat, and Zierer Flitzer. It's MacNeill's job to move the KMG Hydra, KMG Space Port, which is called a Speed; Huss Enterprise, Huss Flipper, and Huss Top Spin Jr., which is currently being refurbished. Among the spectaculars set up at Green Cove Springs were the Chance Giant Wheel, Wildcat Coaster, which Deggeller calls the Riptide, Hydra, Speed, and Enterprise.

    In the official wrap-up of the March 14-April 7 Miami-Dade County Fair, Melissa Lichtenheld, Group Account Director for Wragg & Cass Strategic Communications, said attendance was 552,404, which represented an increase of 21 per cent over 2018. Eddie Cora, first year president and chief executive officer, was quoted, in part, as saying, “We are extremely pleased with the outcome.

    “Our strategy was to give guests the best value for their dollar and the numbers show we succeeded. Once again, we thank our concessionaires for their generosity toward our Scholarship Program. Their annual fundraising event (a golf tournament) contributed more than $60,000.” He added that North American Midway Entertainment's most popular ride was a Double Decker Carousel.

    Successful promotions included two $3 days on March 20 and April 3, drawing nearly 30,000 guests for $3 admission, $3 select foods, and $3 games. Pay-One-Price unlimited rides were $23, a savings of $5. The 21-day admission pass saw a 28 per cent increase over the previous year of sales, which was 2017, because that was not offered in 2018. As NAME's Tony Diaz said, “It was a great run.”

    I received a message from Darrell Desgranges, the Mizuno Pro, which said, “Tom: Glad to hear you are doing well after surgery. Our team in the Miami-Dade County Red Thornberry/Youth Fair Scholarship Golf Classic at the Melrose Country Club on April 1 comprised of Butch Netterfield, Jeff Blomsness, Duke Trombetti, John John (John Marconi), and Scotty Lane.” Trombetti, by the way, who once was in the carnival business, is now golf pro at the Country Club of Coral Springs.

    Desgranges noted that April 1 was also the birthday of Blomsness and to celebrate, he converted a 30 foot putt. “Over 650 steak and lobster dinners were served at the fairgrounds in the Netterfield Food Court, and Dennis Fraleigh's (Butcher Boys) provided the music.”

    Continuing, Desgranges, who is very good at providing me news, said he and Butch were still bummed out about Lou Piniella not making Baseball's Hall of Fame, “one vote short.” Butch and Lou grew up together while Butch lived in Trailer Village (Fowler and Nebraska) in Tampa. Others who lived in the park included Chris Christy, Danny Fleenor, Joie Chitwood, Jack Coxman, and many other notables from the business. Trailer Village was also the largest Spartan trailer dealer in the 1950s.

    “Butch tells of the Chitwoods practicing a new stunt in the park, of blowing up a casket with a person in it with dynamite.” That had to be Benny (Boom Boom) Koske). Desgranges said the charge was overloaded, blowing the windows out of most of the trailers in the park. I believe it.

    Desgranges finished with, “Spring is close in Michigan and Outdoor Mizuno Golf Promotions start this Saturday (April 6). Thanks for keeping us informed about the business.” Signed, “Your friend, Darrell Desgranges.” What memories he conjured up about Pinella, great player and manager whom I recall most as the right fielder for the New York Yankees; Christy, a huge Boston Red Sox fan, and former first class food operator, Fleenor,  who had the Hurricane Hell Drivers, and Joie Chitwood, whose daredevil thrill show I enjoyed watching numerous times at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.

    Patty Dee, concession manager at Miami-Dade, informed me that Bruce Beck, who was the No. 8 food grossing operator, is the fair's new beer vendor. “His company name is Professional Concessions, Inc., and he does the alcohol at the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach.” Dee also said that Vicki Hunter, who came in 10th, with Fries, was Vicki’s last time she played the fair. I guess she got married.

    Michael Kramer, whose Funtime Foods was No. 1 again, with roasted corn, said his next booking isn't until the Ohio State Fair, Columbus, where he sells tater tots. Other fairs on his route include Erie County, Hamburg, N. Y.; New York State, Syracuse; State Fair of Virginia, Richmond; North Carolina State Fair, Raleigh, and for the second year in a row, Georgia National Fair, Perry. “We wound up having a great experience there last year and doing well, despite losing a day to the hurricane.”

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 319-1258.

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Thu, April 18, 2019 12:17 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    Some good news and bad news on the legislative front -- 

    MO HB 559, the Working Animal Protection Act (to protect the use of animals in entertainment, exhibition, commerce, etc.) passed the Missouri House this week and is now being considered in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    RI SB 167, to prohibit the use of wild or exotic animals in traveling animal acts, had a hearing on April 4, and the Committee recommended the measure be held for further study (which means the bill is most likely dead for the year, but we will keep monitoring just in case)

    CA SB 313, to ban the use of wild/exotic animals in traveling acts, unfortunately passed favorably out of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee this week.  It has now been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Please see the Pending Legislation Chart for further details.

  • Thu, April 11, 2019 7:27 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Inaccurate Ad Targeting Industry Does Not Meet AT&T Core Values

    We are aware of the ATT Commercial "OK Carnival" that is distributed on television and across social media channels. The commercial is disturbing and insulting to our industry and the minority community.

    Your call to action is twofold.  First, post messages on Facebook, twitter and email on how insulting and disturbing the "OK Carnival" commercial is to you and the industry. Please use your own words and request that the commercial be withdrawn from all media platforms. Second, post on your personal accounts and ask your friends to share. Tell them how horrible this commercial is and ask them to help by sharing with all their friends. Click here to see official release

    Below is information on how to submit complaints on social media and other means:

    Upset at AT&T? Call the complaint line and tell them now! The company does have an official contact page, but social media is probably the best way to get a response to your problem.

    Tweet AT&T customer service on Twitter at @attcares or post a complaint to their Facebook page. If you would like to send a complaint to AT&T corporate headquarters, their mailing address is 208 South Akard Street, Dallas TX, 75202. 

    Contact the CEO with your problem! Write a letter to the corporate office. The most popular method of contacting AT&T with a complaint is by calling them, that phone number is 800-331-0500. They follow normal business hours of operation, so call between Monday and Friday, 8am-6pm EST. You can also email the support department 24/7 at attcustomercare@att.com.

    Thank you in advance for your advocacy on behalf of the industry.

    Greg Chiecko
    President & CEO

  • Thu, April 11, 2019 7:00 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    “We had a very good run, the best in a couple of years,” was the immediate reaction of Tony Diaz, manager of the North American Midway Entertainment unit that played the March 14-April 7 Miami-Dade County Fair, which had a tremendous increase in attendance from that of 2018.

    Michael Kramer, whose roasted corn operation was again the No. 1 food grosser, has a theory about why that happened. “They charged for parking last year and that did not go over well with the public, so under new management, (Eddie Cora replaced Bob Hohenstein as the president and chief executive officer) they got rid of that. They also got rid of so-called Magic Money that a concessionaire who no longer plays the fair, had convinced them into using.”

    Kramer and his late grandfather, Eddie Perls, have had the corn stand at the fair for 48 years. “I'm happy we were Number One again. The quality of food you serve speaks for itself. A nice flashy stand is one thing, but if the food is garbage, it doesn't matter.”

    “That Magic Money may work for amusement parks, but it doesn't work for us. Besides that, they had some great promotions, including $3 Wednesdays, when the gate admission was $3 and concessionaires offered a small item for $3. It's all about perception of value. You want the customer to leave feeling they had a good time and want to come back again, not that they spent a lot of money and it wasn't worth it.” Kramer lowered the price of an ear of corn this year from $5 to $4.50, noting, “five dollars is a bit of a sticker shock.” He admitted he picked up a few tricks after visiting Brad Ribar at his corn stand at the Minnesota State Fair last year. Some were very subtle, such as leaving a little space between the ears on the rack instead of stacking them next to each other. “Brad has an unbelievable operation.”

                Kramer agreed with Diaz that it wasn't a record year, but it was much better than last year, and an indication that things are turning around.
                “We were up substantially,” said Diaz, pointing out that the carnival, in its 15th year of operation, provided 98 rides, including a new Star Dancer from Interpark Amusements, which is based in the Provence of Modena, Italy. Booked in were Jeremy Floyd with his Space Roller, and Walter Gould, with a Frisbee ride. Diaz said Miami weather was great except for one day of rain that occurred during spring break.
                I asked Diaz about the Giant Wheel that was featured in Minneapolis during the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Final Four Basketball Tournament. He confirmed it is owned by NAME and was manufactured by Chance. It received plenty of exposure in media outlets, especially TV, for its sponsor, Capital One Banking. Danny Huston, president and chief executive officer of NAME, has been booking the Giant Wheel at Final Fours for several years. During the season, it travels with the Mid America Unit, which is run by Danny and his son, Blake. That unit has just opened in Indiana.
                Another unit, led by Pat Repp and Tom Thebault, opened Feb. 28 at Borderfest in Hidalgo, Texas, then played the Zapata County Fair, Zapata, and then spent three weeks in McAllen, Texas, where the show's winter quarters is located. That unit opened April 11 at a new spot, a mall in Alexandria, LA. After that, Repp plays a mall in Greenville, Mississippi, while Thebault heads to dates in Chicago.
                Diaz's unit moves to Pelham, Alabama, for the Oak Mountain Amphitheater State Fair, April 18-May 5. Operated by Live Nation, the venue, which is near Birmingham, is the largest in Alabama. “Then we go to St. Louis for a couple weeks before heading for our Canadian route,” said Diaz. The first spot is the 137th annual Manitoba Summer Fair in Brandon, June 5-9, followed by the Garth Rogerson-managed Red River Exhibition, Winnipeg, June 14-23.
                Patty Dee, veteran concession manager in Miami, provided a list of the top 10 food and games operators. Following Kramer were Ryan Collmer, turkey legs; Elizabeth Gray in third and ninth positions with her Beer 30 Saloon; Collmer, fourth, with barbecue; Lou (Meatball) Pacifico, Collmer's father-in-law, fifth, with corn dogs; Kristine Rieder, Blomsness's daughter, sixth, elephant ears; Dennis Fraleigh, kabobs; Bruce Beck, beer; and in 10th spot, Vicki Hunter, fries.
                In the games department, Bob Cassata, owner of Bob's Space Racers, was first with racing waters, and seventh, with water gun fun. Second was Joey Fowler with a balloon pop water. Fowler was also fifth with a balloon dart-1, and ninth with a vertical water game double decker. William Thornberry was third, with a break a bottle, and No. 8 with center balloon pop water game. Fourth was Cornelius Vermolen, with a claw game. In the sixth spot was Paul Lombard, with a basketball-3, and No. 10 was Jeremy Solem, with a Scooby Toss-1.
                Gray is recovering from her leg being paralyzed after a hip operation. She was excited to hear from me and said she was lucky to have two great managers, Becky Dobson, and Lorissa Smith, both of whom have been with her for many years. “We had a very successful run,” she stated. The daughter of Bea and the late Bob Negus, Gray travels during the season with Diaz's unit of NAME, operating the Fresh New Mini Doughnut stands, which she designed. She also has ice cream and coffee stands. The beer setup only works Miami. It has 21 taps and features craft beers and some other well selling brands. Gray offers a comfortable atmosphere, with couches, a bar, televisions showing mostly sports events, and she even has games, including corn hole, Jenga, and dominoes. “We make a great Margarita and sangria. One thing that helps with the beer is that we offer samples.”
                She's proud that her dad has been recognized as one of the first in the carnival  business to realize the importance of fairs and carnivals working together. He had a terrific relationship with E. Darwin Fuchs, when he ran the Miami-Dade County Fair. They'd cap off each night with a beverage and discuss what went right and what went wrong during the day. I was privileged to be a witness to the relationship.
                The first person to call and let me know the fair went very well was Chris Walden, concession manager for Tinsley Amusements. He even forwarded a picture of himself with Eddie Cora and Albert Montes, the fair's chief financial officer. Walden was heading on April 10 to the Tasha Hyder-managed Clay County Fair, Green Cove Springs, Fla., being held April 4-13, where a fundraiser to help the OABA's H-2B foreign Visa program was being held by Deggeller Attractions.
                Walden and his wife, Allison, also had their two poppers working, one in Arothia, Illinois, and the other in Charleston, Illinois. At Miami, their children, Hadleigh, nine, and Hampton, who turned six on April 9, both of whom are home schooled, were going on a field trip with members of the Deggeller School.
                Walden also assists Deputy Director Jim Sinclair in the concession department on the independent midway each year at the Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul.
                Needless to say, I was elated that Virginia won the national championship in basketball. My oldest daughter, Julia Mulherin, graduated from there and was a classmate of the great Ralph Sampson. Her daughter, Rose, and her husband, Michael, both Virginia graduates, attended the games and were the guests of my son, Tommy, and Paul Hill, who live in Minneapolis. Rose said she had never been to a state fair, so they' re returning over Labor Day where Jerry Hammer will show them what a great fair looks like. They all had a picture made with Sampson, who is seven feet, four inches tall. They looked like midgets. Hill, who dabbles in photography, snapped some incredible photos of the Chance Wheel.

    Please send news to tomp@oaba.org, or call 615 319-1258.

    Have all great days, and God Bless!

  • Thu, April 11, 2019 3:10 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices* 
     (dollars per gallon) full history
              Change from
      03/25/19 04/01/19 04/08/19   week ago year ago
    U.S. 3.080 3.078 3.093   values are up 0.015 values are up 0.050
    East Coast (PADD1) 3.132 3.127 3.137   values are up 0.010 values are up 0.071
    New England (PADD1A) 3.214 3.196 3.193   values are down -0.003 values are up 0.077
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.310 3.309 3.324   values are up 0.015 values are up 0.092
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.995 2.991 2.998   values are up 0.007 values are up 0.059
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.993 2.984 2.993   values are up 0.009 values are up 0.036
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.876 2.872 2.879   values are up 0.007 values are up 0.035
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.974 3.007 3.028   values are up 0.021 values are down -0.058
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.526 3.541 3.591   values are up 0.050 values are up 0.091
    West Coast less California 3.156 3.153 3.189   values are up 0.036 values are down -0.037
    California 3.819 3.849 3.910   values are up 0.061 values are up 0.193
    *prices include all taxes
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